For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Economically Forced to Work: A Critical Reconsideration of the Lottery Question"

by Paulsen, Roland (2008)


The lottery question asks whether you would stop working, continue working in the same job or continue working in a different job if you won a sum of money large enough to allow you to live on it comfortably for the rest of your life without working. This literature review reports the results of 22 surveys carried out between 1955 and 2005 where this issue was raised in connection with basic income, and devotes specific attention to how the results have hitherto been analyzed. Used as a measure of employability, other dimensions of the lottery question, such as occupational discontent and satisfaction beyond economic necessity, have been largely overshadowed despite their prominence in the statistical material. The prevalence of non-financial employment commitment (NEC) has also been overestimated because of an analytical dichotomy between those who would continue working and those who would stop working completely if finances permitted. Suggestions for further studies include a clear distinction between non-financial commitment to current employment and to employment as such.


Basic Income, Lottery Question, Non-Financial Employment Commitment, Occupational Satisfaction, Workfare


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